Organisers of the annual Tatts Finke Desert Race have announced dates for the 2022 running of the two-day event, along with new entry criteria for competitors.
In consultation with Motorcycling Australia (MA), all Bike category entrants must now hold a senior national MA licence by the time entries for the 2022 race close (entries opened on 1 February, 2022). They must also declare recent off-road racing experience at international, national or state-level when applying. This is to “satisfy organisers of their capability”.
Recent experience can include previous Finke starts or racing at events like the Condo 750 and Hattah Desert Race at national level, or competing in the Dakar and FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship at international level.
Current competitors in AORC or ProMX championships, along with other MA-recognised national and state off-road race series, are also eligible.
This essentially means that those without current or recent off-road racing experience in MA or FIM events will be barred from entry. Potential competitors who don’t meet the new entry criteria can apply for special dispensation, which will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, senior national licences will only be issued at MA’s discretion.
The other key change for 2022 is that quad bikes will no longer be permitted to race, due to time limitations on the race format and the need to keep bikes and quads separate. Mixing bikes and quads in the one event also falls outside of MA rule 126.96.36.199.
The new entry criteria requiring past experience in off-road racing also applies to the Car category and comes in response to an incident at the 2021 Finke when a car competitor went off course and killed a spectator.
Finke Desert Race President, Antony Yoffa believes the new entry criteria is important for the future of the race.
“We have seen our event grow in recent times and it has come to the point where it’s important to introduce an assessment for competitors,” Yoffa said.
“With much larger fields of competitors and a course that is increasingly more challenging, it is no longer viable for us to simply offer a starting place to whomever applies.
“It’s about making sure someone new to the event has a particular level of experience and confidence.”
Motorcycling Australia CEO Peter Doyle is pleased to see the new entry criteria implemented for 2022 and beyond.
“The safety of competitors and all involved at motorsport events around the country is extremely important to Motorcycling Australia and we want competitors to have confidence in themselves and those around them, that they are race prepared.”
Bike category entries for the 2022 Tatts Finke Desert Race opened on 1 February, 2022. The race takes place between Alice Springs and Finke on 10-13 June, 2022..